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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Glenn Zaleski: Fellowship

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Ever overcook a dish? The end result is usually dry and wilted. How about undercooking? Has one of your meals ever succumbed to that fate? If it has, you've probably been disappointed by the raw and shapeless dish sitting before you. In composition, as in cooking, you need to find the perfect temperature that sits between those extremes. Go too far in either direction and the magic is ruined. Pianist Glenn Zaleski gets that. “Overwriting can stifle improvisation, but underwriting ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: E.S.T. Symphony

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One of the most widely popular piano trios in modern memory, e.s.t. combined jazz, classical, rock, and extended techniques in an organic and original way that hasn't been heard before. Since the tragic, accidental death of the visionary pianist/composer Esbjörn Svensson in 2008, there have been a handful of piano trios that provided a glimmer of hope that the “next e.s.t." was near at hand. Releases such as The Tingvall Trio Skagerrak (Skip Records/Soulfood), Sebastian Liedke Trio To Walk in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trouble Kaze: June

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Avant-garde pianist/composer Satoko Fujii augments her quartet, Kaze, with an additional piano and another drummer, to create Trouble Kaze, for the release of June. In Fujii's eighty-plus CD discography, Kaze can be counted as one of her most adventurous modes of artistic expression. With trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost working an array of extended techniques to push the limits of their instruments to the maximum; with Fujii's prepared and inside-the-piano ministrations, and the often explosive drumming from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Benedikt Jahnel Trio: The Invariant

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Sometimes there's no substitute for experience, as demonstrated by this trio as it celebrates its tenth anniversary as a working unit. Last heard on Equilibrium (ECM, 2012), it's an international group that met through a series of lucky coincidences: Berlin-based pianist/composer Benedikt Jahnel is joined by Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel and Canadian drummer Owen Howard. Jahnel has also appeared on ECM as a member of Cyminology, a jazz group with culturally and ethnically diverse influences which primarily performs with Persian ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago

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Somewhat of a mystery man, guitarist Dan Phillips recorded two CDs in Chicago in 2015 and 2016. One a trio session, and the other a septet with a cast of heavyweights from the Windy City. Phillips, a Berklee and Northwestern graduate, has been living and teaching in Bangkok, Thailand since the turn of the new millennium. Born in Illinois, he spent five years in New York, and returned to Chicago for another five before decamping to Bangkok. It's just as ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Panama Jazz Festival 2017

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Panama Jazz Festival Ciudad del Saber, Republic of Panama January 10-14, 2017 In terms of the number of marquee musicians it features over the course of five days, the annual Panama Jazz Festival is far from being in the big leagues of similar events in Latin American. That, however, only tells part of the story. Where the PJF stands head-and-shoulders above most music festivals is in terms of the emphasis it places on education, offering dozens ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Akua Dixon: Akua's Dance

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A visage of joyousness fills this album cover. Cellist Akua Dixon, with back arched and eyes closed, can't contain herself. A knowing smile washes over her face as she bathes in the light with cello in hand. It's a picture that perfectly illustrates the artist's place in the moment: Dixon has reached a point of supreme confidence, where percipience permeates her every move and guides her every turn. She doesn't miss a step on Akua's Dance. This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Craig Taborn: Daylight Ghosts

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In addition to his copious sideman work (including multiple recordings with James Carter, Roscoe Mitchell, Tim Berne, Michael Formanek, and Chris Potter, among many others) pianist/keyboardist Craig Taborn has found time to record intermittently as a leader since 1994's Craig Taborn Trio (IDW). This is his third ECM album, following the solo Avenging Angel (2011) and the trio date Chants (2012). The music Taborn composed for Daylight Ghosts' quartet emphasizes group improvisation over sharply defined soloist/accompanist roles, facilitated ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Tampio: Live at PafA

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The long-standing practice of incorporating non-Western instruments within a jazz setting is further evolved on up-and-coming trumpeter and composer Vince Tampio's self-produced album Live at PafA. More specifically, the Philadelphia/New York-based musician culled various percussion instruments from Eastern Europe alongside an Indian tanpura for a performance of five original compositions recorded live at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Besides enhancing the pervading atmosphere of alluring exoticism, the nontraditional instrumentation maintains a spacious environment that proves ideal for a ...


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